A study has found a possible link between giving young children antibiotics and them developing obesity later in life. The study focused on penicillin’s effects; however, the problem appears not to be caused by penicillin itself, but rather by the damage it does to certain types of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
The study, by microbiologist Martin Blaser at New York University, was conducted on mice. It adds to other studies, which found that children who were given antibiotics before 6 months of age were more likely to be overweight at 7 years old. Blaser believes there’s a “window of time” during which penicillin can have the greatest consequences on good bacteria. He thinks it’s somewhere between 6 months and 3 years old.
Approximately 100 trillion bacteria live in and on the typical human. As we’ve learned in recent years, part of a healthy life includes good microbes. Blaser’s study found that disruption of the “microbiome” of the mice during their first month of life resulted in 25 percent more weight later. It